I spent 7 years in boarding school, when I was 10-13, and again from 14-17 (so I had a year off in between). My parents started by moving to Vanuatu, a small pacific island, and my dad’s employer paid for my schooling. When my parents returned to Brisbane, I was devastated to be a day girl So when they moved to Wollongong (a town 1 hr from Sydney), I was asked if I wanted to stay in Brisbane, or go to school in Wollongong or Sydney. Wollongong didn’t offer an Anglican all girls school, so it’s likely I would have had to go to a school in Sydney. A 2 hr daily commute is rough on a teenager, so it’s possible I may have been a boarder in Sydney. But sometimes the devil you know is better than anything! So I went back into boarding school in Brisbane, and was there til graduation!
Boarding school wasn’t a punishment, for me or almost all the other 180 girls. We loved the camaraderie, and the opportunities – you can play so many sports, and there’s no car pooling in most cases. That being said, some boarding school stereotypes are definitely true! The food was… not ideal! In the 7 years I was in the boarding house, they had a few moments of ‘tarting up’ the food – it was all laid out like it was a photo shoot. For Melbourne Cup (a horse race that stops the nation) they put out a spread with non alcoholic wine, even. It was stolen. It was a coup. Anyhow, these times of improved conditions seldom lasted.
What has pervaded are these memories:
– White bread + butter + sugar at the dinner table
– Orange halves + sugar (you think they’d learn to not put sugar on the tables, right?)
– The best dessert ever: caramel tarts. And running to afternoon tea the following day in the hope of leftovers
– Icecream bars, wrapped in papery/plastic on Fridays
– Blueberry muffins for breakfast
– Crumpets, English Muffins and raisin toast added to weekend breakfasts
– Bacon and eggs on chapel mornings (Thursday and Sunday)
– Beef stronganoff looking like dog food, namely PAL (remember I mentioned this in my food dislikes list?)
– Creamed rice always resulting in rumours of maggots (especially after numerous repeat servings!)
– Milo (chocolate malt milk powder) stuck to benchtops
– Never having access to a microwave
It’s always interesting to speak to other who went to boarding school. One friend has struggled with eggs ever since. What about you? What are your food memories – particularly institutionalised food!
Settle in, this is a long one! The end of month summary will be next week, when all the interest is in. Feels silly to post before the ‘dust has settled’. This post was inspired by comments to this post
When I was nine, I had a very serious conversation with my mother on her bed, during afternoon nap time in our big Queendlander in Brisbane. I needed to decide, right then and there, my future career. I didn’t want to leave it to chance. Make the wrong decision. Close doors inadvertently. And I haven’t changed a bit – I still have absolutely no patience!
Mum and I discussed what I liked in life. I loved travelling – I was lucky that my parents saved and took us overseas. In 1992 I was taken to the US to visit my aunt who was doing a PhD there. We flew JAL via Tokyo, and on every leg this cutie asked for an upgrade. Would you believe it, we got one from Tokyo to Cairns! In 1993, my whole family upped and moved to the south of France for 15 weeks, which my parents had their long service leave. So in 1994, when we had this discussion, I already had a taste for travel.
Mum directed me that I’d be best to be a pilot or diplomat.
Both those are admirable careers, but I struggled with the ‘how to become a diplomat’ question. It’s not that simple, you might get a law degree, and then get into it, but you just as likely might not. And I don’t like those odds! So pilot it was. I dreamed of joining wherever I wanted, and once I got there, enjoying it, unlike the passengers who might have the scurry off to business meetings. I thought, wow, I can just up and leave husband and kids and take a break and call it work! Cheeky, wasn’t I?
In 2001, my penultimate year of school, I decided I needed to know more about becoming a pilot. I knew I had essentially two options: self funded, or government funded through the defense forces. Whilst my parents travelled, they aren’t in the world of wealth that finances a pilot’s licence with private lessons. So, it was pretty clear to me, at 16, with no real earning opportunities being a boarder, that I would need to go the route of the air force.
I made an appointment with the recruitment office (which is now the Red Cross Blood Bank in Brisbane), and did my hair in the tightest, neatest bun ever. I knew that whilst this was an ‘information’ interview, I needed to look the part. I spoke to a someone – I say ‘someone’ for effect – he told me I’d need to learn all the ranks and all the high ranking official in the Air Force. And all the aircraft. And all the depots/bases. And once I’d learnt all that, I’d have a medical examination too. I’m not the sort of smart that memorises things. I never really have been. Certainly not dry military information. Then, to be told that the medical exam would require me to waddle, in a squatted pose, across the room, to see if I had hip joint issues, I started to think ‘is this all really worth it, and necessary?’ Neither of those reasons are ‘enough’ to not continue, but I wondered if I could endure the 7 years studying, and the further 8 years ‘payback’ obligation in the service. I loved the idea of being paid to learn, and pretty much living a financially easy life, on the government’s dime. But could I commit to 15 years with them (or suffer the repayments if I left early?).
There were too many things that I wasn’t comfortable with. And I decided to listen to that uncertainty, and explore additional career opportunities. As an Aussie, it pains me to big note myself, but I knew I was academically talented enough to study for almost any career I might be interested in. But what did I want to study, and make my career and future? That’s such a hard question to answer at 16, with no experience of Monday to Friday 9-5 pm sorts of hours. All you know is study, with some sport and music thrown in.
I read the course manuals, and attended open days. In the end, I decided I would do Bachelor of Forensic Science in Applied Chemistry with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies. My other ‘options’, well I wasn’t really sure. There was some industrial design. And there was some engineering. My mother suggested that pilots are engineers. This is not factually true, but hey, what mother hasn’t told a furfy? And really, I can’t blame her, I’m pretty pleased with where I am in life today!! My mother, being a teacher, spoke to her school’s career’s counselor and I met with her in the school holidays. (My mother and I lived in different states, and I planned to study in the state my mother was in). The counselor offered me a number of scholarship application brochures for various engineering courses. Her advise was for the cost of a stamp and some time, you could be handsomely rewarded. She was right, it wasn’t that hard to church out some scholarship applications on the long and boring days of school holidays (when the rest of my family was at work and school).
Much to my surprise, most universities rejected me. I remember the long, bare footed walk to the letterbox at that house. I got an offer, but the letter wasn’t addressed to my name, but another name at my address (imagine what might have gone wrong there!!). But, the University of Technology, Sydney did want to interview me! Thankfully, not during my planned ‘schoolies’ week – the celebratory booze up that students illegally enjoy!
I arrived at the interview holding room, and thankfully put my foot in it there (rather than later, say, in the real interview) with a lady who’d become my boss for all my years at uni. I said ‘oh yeah, I’d like to do aeronautical engineering’ to which she replied ‘our university doesn’t offer than specialty We don’t offer it because there’s only 2 jobs per year, and the other two ‘big’ universities both graduate 30 students each per year in that specialty’. Wow! Talk about back to reality. Thank you Betty! You saved my bacon, because, of course, I did get offered a scholarship, if I put engineering at this particular university, first on my preferences. (University admission is centralised, it’s all a bit cloak and dagger, and not very well understood).
The scholarship was perfect for my commitment phobic self. It was for one year, it was for $10k and it required a credit average in my first year, and my re-enrolment in second year. As I saw it, I could come away with $5k if I didn’t like engineering, and didn’t sign up for second year. That would have covered my tuition at the very least. Needless to say, almost every year (and it took me six years with the Bachelor of International Studies, and failing only one subject four times) I contemplated changing – to law, to forensic chemistry. Just quitting and becoming a flight attendant and travelling. Eventually, I’d done more than I had left, so I stuck it out, and man did it take *every single once* of willpower on some days. Engineering is not easy but it is rewarding!
There’s so much more I could write, but at more than 1200 words, I’ll save it! Questions warmly welcomed!
I’ve mentioned more than once (here and here), that I’m sure my eating out costs are higher than my monthly grocery spend. It’s the only way I can explain how I spend so little on groceries and I haven’t starved 😉 Actually regular readers would know, every month I set a goal to cook at home two nights a week. I usually meet this (and I don’t count the ‘cooking at the bf’s’ in that either!)
Whilst thinking of a challenge I considered ‘no eating out’ in June. It was doomed from the start, with a night away at the Gold Coast. So I decided I would track it first, and then next month, work on a ‘no eating out’ challenge.
So, to start with, this is normal programming, complete with a mini break in there. We seem to have one mini break out of town every month at the moment – between weddings, work and ‘why not’s. Let’s hope this week is an outlier in the month (though if every week truly is like this, imagine how much I’ll have saved at the end of July’s challenge?).
Here’s the ‘rules’
I track the total meal and drinks cost (coffees, cocktails etc). This includes whomever I eat with, usually the bf
I proportion what amount of that is mine (not exactly, but just a rough 50/50 or 30/70). This is helpful when I eat in a big group (ie with my family) and whilst I don’t/didn’t pay, work out what it might have cost me in real terms.
The BF is aware of the tracking, but neither of us are changing our behaviour just yet. Basically, business as usual
Week 1 – hold onto your hat’s frugalistas…
9.3% of my (weekly) take home salary covered my own meals out, so far. Actually, that’s ignoring my family night out, where dad paid. If I’d paid my way, I’d have spent 12.7% And if I paid for everything we eaten out as a couple, it’d have been 13.8%. Oh and don’t you worry about fairness, there’s been hotel costs & cabs in this same week and I’ve paid nothing for those.
Now, let’s hope for a calmer few weeks, and a nicer end of month check in…
For a random aside, as I can’t contain my jubilation!
Career Goals Update
I’ve now met with my internal mentor (got tongues waging in my office, seeing me meeting one on one with a big cheese!). He was a dynamo and I’m sure it’s going to be a great match. As a result of both mentors, I’ve had a flurry of activity, including applying for RedR to be on their disaster register. Lucky I got on this promptly, as applications close tomorrow! Next step will be a phone interview – so close those fingers everyone! I also asked my manager to review my skills and help me identify some learning opportunities for me, to make the most of my current role whilst we ride out the storm of no jobs and uncertainty in our company. And I’ve sent three of my less than ideal career episode reports to my external mentor. Hopefully our next meeting will bring some insights on how I can strengthen those. I’m walking with a spring in my step, and radiating sunshine with all these little steps toward the career I want!
Thanks readers, you’re really helping me keep accountable and make sure I achieve my goals.
$20k $26k target by 22 Dec: On target (increase of $1,829.61 this month)
Apr 2013: $14,522.79
May 2013: $16,352.40
Generosity target of at least $100 per week: ahead of annual target
I have decided to just list whether I’ve achieved this for the month, and whether I’m behind or ahead of my annual budgetted ‘generosity’.
Cook at home twice a week: achieved as much as I can remember (week 1 was hazy!)
I’ve started making a soup about weekly, to use leftovers for lunches at work. This has settled my angst about vegetable intact and means I can be happier eating less balanced dinners which might be the preference of those I dine with 😉 Bolded items were cooked at home
week 1 –
Cheesy Garlic pizza (Thu)
GF pasta in Brisbane (Fri)
Steak out in Brisbane (Sat)
Nachos at Brisbane airport(Sun)
week 2 –
Rice crackers and brownies? (Mon) Pumpkin & Lentil soup (Tue)
Leftovers? (Thu) Spaghetti Carbonara (Fri)
Nachoes and Sliders out (Sat)
Quiche, waldorf salad & spaghetti marinana at parent’s house (Sun)
week 3 – Vegetable soup (Mon)
Steak and chips – met the BF’s MUM!! (Tue) Udon Noodles with miso (Wed)
Prawn & scallop pie out (Thu)
Stuffed peppers (Fri) Ceaser Salad at BF’s (Sat)
Eurovision party (Sun)
week 4 – Pumpkin Soup (Mon)
Dominos Pizzas (Tue) Tuna bake (Wed) Satay chicken and rice at BF’s (Thu)
Italian birthday dinner out (Sat) Nachos at BF’s (Sun)
I saw two DVDs as well as going out to the movies. I really wanted to see Warm Bodies and so the BF obliged and took me. I loved it, I loved the subtle humour. Really pleased I went and saw it. Whilst it seems a little like a chick flick, I think it’s got enough going for it that others can tolerate it.
I also saw two movies at home, Unthinkable wasn’t something I heard about, when it came out, or since. It was an American who plants three nuclear bombs in the US. Probably a little bit of a sensitive issue for Americans, but I enjoyed the film. It was pretty graphic – they use all the torture methods that are and are not approved. It certainly makes you ask questions of torture, but also the motivations of the tortured – perhaps they’ve resigned to their fate, and therefore no end of torture will cause them to reveal the information you’re seeking? The second film was The Hunger Games which I haven’t read, but was interested to see nonetheless. I think I was actually surprised how into it I got, and I really did want to see ‘what happened in the end’.
Saw Iron Man 3 at the movies, and I’ve not seen the first two, but I still followed what was going on and enjoyed it immensely – obviously enhanced by the La Premiere session, which involved food and alcohol service to your couples chairs, separated from the general public.
– 2 books a month: achieved
First up was Winter Garden which was a great balance between modern day USA and fairytale time (which becomes wartime Russia). Really well told story, with lots of characters going on a little personal discovery.
Gosh it seems like it’s been a long month, and somehow I managed to get The Paradox of Choice read, though it took forever. I wrote a very brief review too.
Call/connect with an out of town friend – achieved
In May, I took a weekend back in my former home town, Brisbane, and had a great dinner with a school friend. The other night, I met up with a friend who I met at an overseas conference, who does a similar role to me for a company in Brisbane. I always have the best time catching up with her – we’re so in sync as nerds!
I also spoke to a friend originally from Perth but now in Melbourne – both for her B’day and again she rang me a week later to sort out coming to visit! The coincidence in all this was that I knew it was her birthday and whilst i was listening to a national radio program they read a text message she sent in! She lived in a pretty small town in Western Australia and when they mentioned that, and her name, well it couldn’t have been a bigger coincidence – I pulled over then and there to ring her for her birthday and exclaim her nationwide ‘fame’!
– Certification – 60% done well, 40% still to improve
Of the 16 career episode reports, I’ve written something for every one. There are five that are too short (one, woefully so). But I’m starting to see that I’m chipping away at this, and it will get done! I’ve set an ‘end of the year’ target to complete this. I also need to send three to my non work mentor to review. I did consider sending the ‘worse’ ones, but then I don’t want to make a bad impression – but it’s best to get help where I most need it!
– Looking for next role – I’m working on it!
Whilst I’ve not actively sort a new role, in the last month I’ve met with my non-work mentor. We talked about a career plan and he gave me some helpful tips. Mainly, he talked and I took a lot of notes (oh, of course I talked too… don’t worry). As a result of that chat, I’ve sought out an internal mentor. Someone in senior management, but not part of my direct reporting structure, which I think it helpful. He’s also been overseas with our company sending him to NYC, which would be a dream come true for me. So after going out on a limb with a ‘will you be my mentor’ email, not a day later I have a willing mentor and a date to meet in early June! Yay!
But they don’t have to be gluten free (they weren’t designed that way, but with so little of that glutenous demon it’s hardly noticeable when you substitute).
Remember my Easter gift to the BF? I’ll remind you with some trademarked top quality live to list photos!
I’ll give you the true recipe, and my running commentary/changes:
125g (unsalted) butter – I put the salted butter in, cause I like it like that :p
250g caster sugar (about 1 cup)
30g cocoa powder (about 1/4 cup)
40g flour – I use gluten free pre-mixed flour here, but I’ve also substituted almond meal and everyone’s still been wow’ed
pinch of salt – see why do that? just use salted butter!
200g chocolate bits – itty bitty ones, not little coin shaped ones. Black and Gold brand ones for the Aussies are the best in my experiementations
1. Preheat that oven to 180 C and lightly spray your slice tin I use a 25cm square tin for a single mix, but a 32 x 22cm tin when I double it – which make a thicker brownie than a single mix. I also hate to use greaseproof paper, but there are far less tears when I do.
2. Melt the butter and add caster sugar in a large mixing bowl . Why dirty up another thing? I melt the butter in a saucepan, then take it off the heat and add the sugar
3. Lightly whisk eggs in a separate bowl. see above, I don’t like to dirty up stuff when I don’t have to!
4. Add eggs to butter mixture and stir together. But don’t add eggs TOO soon to the hot butter, lest you end up with scrambled eggs
5. Sift in cocoa and flour and salt and mix together. OK I go rouge here, and need a bowl to weigh these two bad boys, so I add to the washing up there. But the bowl comes out in the final act
6. Fold in chocolate bits See you had to weigh those suckers too didn’t you!
7. Pour into a prepared pan
8. Bake for 20-25 mins, leaving in a hot oven for a further 7-10 ins For the time stretched, 20 mins and whip them out in a single batch is certainly a-ok in my recent experience. Too long in the cooling oven and you get a very chocolatey teething rusk!
9. Remove from oven to cool on rack
10. Slice when warmish otherwise there will be tears!
On Saturday, I knocked off one of my ‘12 in 2 list‘ goals – do a knife skills course. I went to the Chef’s Armoury in Rosebery, Sydney. It was $89 for a 1.5 hour session – there were 6 people (though one didn’t turn up) to the one teacher in the specialist knife store – mainly Japanese knives, and some additional food items. You were asked to bring a small and a large knife – which is smart, to learn how to use YOUR knife, rather than one of theirs.
First we started with carrots, and had our skills evaluated. It is nerve racking having someone watch you do something you know you’re not that good at – that’s why I signed up for the course! Anyhow, no one was immediately eliminated, and despite threats that he’d shout ‘STOP EVERYTHING’ if he saw anything really dangerous, we all did pretty well. Basically, the key learning was that you need to curve all your fingers around like you’re holding a stress ball, as you cut whatever item. AS I said, we started with a LOT of carrots! Practising our curled fingers we julienned carrots, and then finely diced them. Then we moved onto leeks.
The thing that I learnt about leeks was how to wash out that pesky dirt that is always near the tops of the white part. Basically you cut the ‘head’ into quarters or eighths, making it like a brush. Then you swish it around in a sink or bowl of water, and huzzah, no more dirt. Really not rocket science, but something I’d never worked out on my own :s
So far, everyone had all their fingers. Thought a few people had some knife to fingernail action, there was no blood or anything serious! Next he really upped the ante, and whipped out the capsicum (bell peppers). Seeing we’d mastered juliennes and dicing, we then were shown how to skin a capsicum with a knife. Let me assume me, I do not think I’ve ever really thought ‘wow I need to skin this capsicum’ but as the instructor explained, the skin is bitter, and when you have a fine dice or similar, say for a bruschetta, you don’t want little bits of skin in your teeth. I didn’t really master the finer skills in separating the capsicum skin from the flesh, but that’s ok, cause next up we went onto tomatoes).
Tomatoes are EASY in comparison! I can skin a tomato, without boiling it, and then burning my fingers! And then, just to keep up our skills, we finely diced the tomato as well. We learnt that the fine dice was part of the beauty of cooking, the smaller pieces of carrot, leek, onion or tomato caramelise better due to the larger surface area. So there you go, not something I’d ever considered, but of course is makes perfect sense.
Oh and back on the leeks – here’s a good way to dice them. Cut into the core, and then lay it flat like a book. Then julienne in line with the grain (ie cutting along the ‘long side’ rather than the ‘formerly round end’), then come back to dice them.
We leant two motions with the knife. There was a pinch gripe, with a simple up and down motion. This is where we started with the carrots. Then we moved onto the locomotive grip, running in an elliptical motion. This elliptical motion is crucial when cutting spring onion or shallots so that you don’t crush the circular structure. It seems this is what I hadn’t mastered, as that’s what causes the shallots to no be cut right through (they sort of look like a potato hedgehog or something). Definitely something I’ll need to practice some more as I didn’t reach perfection during the course.
Next up we learnt how to zest an orange (or any citrus fruit really). Essentially it was just using the knife to finely peel the colour part from the pith. Interestingly, whilst we were asked to bring a big and a small knife, we were encouraged to use the large knife for everything if we felt comfortable. I also wasn’t the master of the zesting, but I got better as we were asked to peel the pith (without, obviously, removing too much of the lovely flesh!) Lastly we learnt how to cut out segments, leaving behind the nasty white niceness (cause white stuff is poisonous – like in the capsicum. NO, no it’s not, but our teacher assures us every 5 year old will tell you it is!). I didn’t take an action shot of this, but I’ll show you the mother’s day fruit salad I made on Sunday to test the skills
Last, but by no means least, we learnt to cut onions. Now, the teacher says the only way to not cry cutting them is to get someone else to cut them! The other participants said a mouthful of cider or beer will help – so I’m willing to try it. Cause the matchstick between the teeth trick has come up bust with me lately. Basically you keep the root on, and trim the head of the onion. Then you cross the head of the onion, and use the knife to peel away the skin. Tick and tick – well I wasn’t using a knife to peel away the skim previously, but otherwise I was following the method in my own cooking. Then you halve the onion and cut wedges into it, keeping the root intact. There’s not need to do the whole ‘then cut horizontally through the onion’. Then using the fingers around a ball technique, you dice the onion, with tears streaming down your face. Tada, the sad end to the class!
I’m pleased I went, and in order to illustrate this post I tested all my skills in making a vegetable soup! For the first six months he asks us to WATCH what we’re doing, but once we have finger placement down pat, the safety of it will mean we can cut and safely watch TV at the same time! Wow, cool huh?
I did the course at The Chef’s Amoury on Botany Rd, Rosebery. They were the most competitive course out there, with small class sizes.
Did I teach you anything new? Any cool tips you have, that I can add to my repertoire?
Tuesday is review day. Usually books. Sometimes a film. Today, is a special day for someone in my life. So, today I shall share a little about someone known as ‘the bf’.
The BF and I have been together a little over 6 months, and today marks his birthday. He’s pretty awesome as far as a blogger’s bf could go, cause he’s work in search engine wizardry (not that I actually understand any of it!). So he’s constantly enlightening me on the greater intricacies of the world wild (opps, wide!) web. And there’s nothing I can teach him either, it would seem!
So, as this blog is about my listing, I shall list the great things about my bf!
he is a nerd monster (which is just awesome when you make a Facebook account for your blog and it’s a ‘person’ instead of a ‘page’!)
he makes the bed (cause he’s ALWAYS out of bed after me, sometimes by HOURS!)
he drives the nicest car (and! let’s me drive it too)
he’s uber uber into cuddling
he’s always warm, which is particularly good for this cold cat as the temperatures drop here in Australia
he curbed his ice cream addiction whilst I knuckled down for a no sugar commitment in Lent
he helps me with that bottle of red wine
he taught me how to copy and paste of my HTC phone…. here I was thinking it wasn’t possible
he’s mastered toilet seat down, next stop the lid right?
he doesn’t often say ‘yes’ when I ask ‘should I stop talking’ late in the night
he can tell in the middle of the night if something’s not right (like I’m unwell), from when I’m fine
he’ll let me order a SECOND cheese and garlic pizza, and that be dinner 😀
he can untangle necklaces like a demon
he’s got big muscles (seriously, not just man muscles, but buff, breaking out of his t shirt style), and can open those tightly shut lids
he’ll try anything I cook/bake – basically my thinly veiled attempts to get us both to eat more vegetables!
he has an awesome sense of humour, well… some of it is very well worn humour!
he comes along to weddings and the like; for people he’s never even met, just so I have company
he knows that when I say no to a drink or food, that what I really mean is ‘no, but I’ll have some of yours’
after only a few weeks dating, I shaved my head, and he stuck around (but does wish it’d grow a little faster, as do I!)
he pretty darn communicative (for a boy) which means anything can be talked out
he knows my current favourite song, and will leave it on the radio (as his eyes may or may not start to bleed!)
We also have some nice similarities
he has the same size feet as me (this helps HIM know his size in womens, mens, and European!)
same sort of upbringing – socially, educationally etc
both have the similar attitudes to money (ie he vetoes the idea of a $36,000 wrapping room EVER!)
Now a review usually comes with a recommendation, so I would highly recommend my boyfriend, however, there’s only one of him. Oh and any good review should balance the good with the bad, but there’s no point in raining on this little parade of birthday love! Overall, I’d like to say, he’s pretty awesome :p
My backpay came through this week, which now means I’m on a higher salary. It also means all my savings targets got a generous boost! 😀
$20k target by 22 Dec: On target to achieve
Mar 13: $13,003.17 (adjusted from March goals post to include interest of $53.11)
Apr 13: $14,522.79
12 in 2 Adventures: Ahead of target
Start of month $229.76
End of month: $797.56 + $89 paid for knife skills course
Generosity target of at least $100 per week not quite there
(weeks Mon thu Sun – and based on when things were withdrawn from my accounts):
week 1 – $45 + $70 (dad) + 12hrs volunteering (babysitting, flowers, Sunday school)
week 2 – $20 + $80 to the cause spoken about here
week 3 – $20 + 2 hrs volunteering (babysitting/cleaning)
week 4 – $35 + $50 for a swim-a-thon of a colleague
I don’t want to share too much of my 12 in 2 goal to read the bible, but let’s just say I’ve started, and in a year, I should have the whole thing licked. Why am I bringing it up here? Well I read about giving, but silently, so only God knows. Made me question publishing it on the blog. But then I realised, the blog is helping me do it – in the sense that it reminds me to give to those less fortunate. What are your thoughts? Should I just retire this segment from my goals update? It does feel a little… show-off-ish
Cook at home twice a week: achieved
Bold means I made it myself! March was a roaring success – and April on average wasn’t too bad. I had one week where I didn’t hit my target, but given I’d been sick in the stomach and then super busy, I’m not 100% worried. I’ve seen an increase in eating at home of late, so that’s a bonus. Most of my meals out seem to be homecooked too – either at a friend’s or my parents. I still buy lunch 2 days a week – Mondays and on the weekend at least once usually.
*can you imagine me coming home with EIGHT leeks – it was comical*
week 1 –
Chicken & Leek terrain with leek and potato bake leftovers (Mon) Rocket salad with beef (Tue)
Apple sauce (sick!) (Wed) Chicken soup – leftovers (Thu) Ginger and Lemongrass stir fry (Fri)
Snack food at water polo presentation night (Sat)
Nothing 🙁 still sick from WED! (Sun)
week 2 – let’s not talk about some of the nutritional decisions I made this week, shall we?
?? (Mon) Chocolate cake (Tue)
Garlic pizza – inhaled pre concert (Thu)
Sushi – nearly made me sick (Fri)
Roast chicken at friend’s place (Sun)
week 3 –
Dosa with curried root veges – I used mustard when I couldn’t buy mustard seeds, it works (Mon)
Vegie pasta bake at a friend’s (Tue) GF pizza(Wed)
Lasange at my parent’s (Thu)
Italian out (Fri) Coconut buns and chicken dim sum (Sat) Leftover GF pizza (Sun)
week 4 –
Chickpea Salad (Mon)
Pizza (Tue) Nachos at BF’s (Wed)
Curry at parents (Thu)
Sushi (Fri) Roast lamb and potatos at BF’s (Sat) Chicken Ceaser Salad at BF’s(Sun)
Sugar – out the window!
Train for polo – off season
– 2 films a month: achieved
Sunday night in week 1, my darling took me to Identity ThiefI felt pretty rotten, which can be evidenced by the fact that the only Maltesers I consumed were those brought to my mouth! That’s unheard of! Funny funny film – even though BF is convinced I don’t like comedy. I also Die Hard – Die Another Day. Gosh I’m good to my bf! Next up, Warm Bodies I think.
– 2 books a month: achieved
Grotesque sort of straddled the months, but definitely in this month was A Tree Grows in Brooklyn which I thoroughly enjoyed – you can read my review. I tried to get into Blown with limited success (had it on the go for two weeks). I think picked up The Winter Garden by Laura Hillenbrand, and I’m really enjoying it!
Call/connect with an out of town friend – not achieved
Not going great with this – I did send some messages but really not enough.
– Certification: on target
Seems I missed two of the sixteen competencies when I was writing out the framework, so whilst i said LAST month I only had three to go, I really had five! So now I’ve done two more, I have three to go. Only four are at the proper length though, so more work is needed
– Looking for next role: making progress
After some scheduling difficulties, I’m had an information interview with a company this week. I’m not sure I’ll make the change, given it’d mean longer hours and a lower salary, and the only real carrot for me is that I could move to France (or somewhere else, but France is where I’d like to go, and their ‘home’). Nonetheless, I’ll make sure to look at their job ads monthly just in case.
I also now have a professional mentor, outside my company, thanks to the professional body that I’m doing my certification through. We meet in early May at an event, so it shall be interesting to see what I learn and how I grow.
When I was a teenager, I had a fascination with ornamental birdcages. At the time, I was working in a florist, and I swooned at the lovely rustic birdcage my boss had in stock. When Christmas came around, she wisely wrapped it up with a big bow and presented it to me. I still have it, 13 years later (it’s to the far right in the photo below)! Over the years, I started to seek out more birdcages. Interestingly, they became more and more of a decor item. Suddenly, they seemed to be everywhere! At the height of my collection I had seven ornamental birdcages!
In 2011, I started to consider moving out of my parents home to buy my own place. I also became a regular reader of the forums at Unclutterer.com and reading Colleen’s blog 365 Less Things I started to question the wisdom of “collections”. When I asked the common clutter questions, I came up short. They weren’t functional. And I didn’t love every bird cage. I didn’t actively try to declutter them, but when someone asked on freecycle for ornamental birdcages, i was ready to share my ‘less favourites’. I bundled up three birdcages that I didn’t love, and made this woman’s day.
That left me with three birdcages at my house, and one at my parents house. My home doesn’t have a lot of flat surfaces for ‘displaying’ things, so for 16 months, I’ve moved birdcages around, trying to put them somewhere where they’ll be enjoyed, but not getting in the road with functionality of things around them (the TV, lamps, other things on shelves). It just wasn’t working. So I decided I’d go ‘up’! I had a corner of my living room that was a little ‘dead’. It had never really worked, and I decided it needed something to ‘jazz’ it up.
As you can see above, there’s definately not much happening in this neck of the woods, err living room. After extensive consultation with Mr DIY (a close friend… who has a drill, I don’t), we decided we’d use a wooden bar between the two walls, and then attach cuphooks to the underside. Then with some chains leftover from the floristry display, I could hang my beloved three birdcages.
As you can see, it’s certainly changed up that corner! It seems less barren and empty. Interestingly, I’ve had this idea for about a year or more, but it might seem like I’ve been inspired by my all time favourite DIY bloggers at Young House Love – see this post for what I mean. This is one item I am ever so pleased to get off my ‘house to do list’!
I love my loft apartment, mostly. But I can’t help thinking ‘one day’, I’ll move and these are the things I wish my house to have
lots of natural sunlight: a loft with a single double height window doesn’t allow a lot of light, and given the orientation of my place, and the garden beds, I don’t get a lot of light, and only for an hour or two in the morning.
a fireplace: Sydney gets cold! And I love the smell of other people’s fires in winter. And it’s a great way to dispose of paper/tissues/wood
a garden: even with a bigger, sunnier balcony I could go back to growing things, I loved growing sweet peas (the flowers and the vegetable!), and keep seeing awesome little ways to grow other things I’d love to have on hand
gas: for both cooking as well as heating/water heating. Currently I only have it for water heating.
natural ventilation: firstly a bathroom window! The style of my loft makes that impossible. It was on my wish list when I was househunting, but some things you have concede. My next place will hopefully have more than just a bathroom window, but windows everywhere!
And hopefully it’ll have things I already have in my little loft
a good sized pantry
a linen cloest
an entry area – with places to store ‘grab and go’ items (umbrellas, name badges, coffee cup), somewhere to process mail, dump handbags, put things for delivery when next out etc.
What do you have on your future home’s wish list? What did you used to wish for, and no longer need/want/wish for?